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Saturday, May 9, 2009

A Star is Born

Move over, Susan Boyle. There's a new improbable star in town. Or at least on-line.

You've seen the clip, if you didn't see the show. And if you haven't seen either, here it is for you. I'm talking about a Boston-based comic named Joe Wong who made his American network television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman three weeks ago. His appearance was the comedic equivalent of Susan Boyle's turn on Britain's Supposedly Got Talent, I thought. In both performers you have someone who breaks the mould. Rightly or wrongly, your expectations are shattered. Wong, an immigrant from China, walks on the stage and immediately reminds me of Andy Kaufman's Foreign Man character – only this ain't no character. And he knows how to tell a punchline.

Here's Wong's spot:

Pretty funny stuff. Does it bode well for other unknown comics to get a shot on the venerable late-night institution? I invited the man responsible for Wong's appearance, Late Show comedy booker Eddie Brill, into the What's So Funny? Skype Studio in Manhattan to talk about the Wong phenomenon.

In the mood lighting, Eddie looks pretty sinister, but he's a pussycat, as you'll hear. Also worth remembering when viewing: objects on the screen may appear larger than their actual size.

We also talked about Letterman's decision to run the late Bill Hicks' set 15 years after his death. We'll run that clip tomorrow. Or the next day. But soon.

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